Sep 16, 2012 5:30am EDT
enthusiastic collector out of baltimore. from there, the trail goes cold. >> the whereabouts have been unknown. >> reporter: it did show up in a flea market in the shenandoah valley. it got the attention of one of the browsers there, though not for the art itself. >> i originally bought it for the frame. >> reporter: she doesn't want her identity revealed but she said she's never gone to an estate sale and she doesn't stalk flea markets. she thought the best she would get out of this is a nice frame. >> i started ripping it apart. and i was like, maybe i should wait. >> reporter: her mother urged her to get it appraised. that picture did have the artist's name on the frame. the folks here have seen that sort of thing before. >> usually when you see that, you think, okay, this is a fake. because they're trying to say it's a renoir. >> reporter: this one had all the features of the real thing. features that a trained eye can easily spot. >> straight away, it just looked right. it's the color, it's the vibrant color, the pinks and purples. and he's known for his rapid brush strokes.